Swimming is excellent exercise for children and adults alike, but did you know it is also good for young babies, and particularly beneficial for premature babies?
Being in the water gives babies great freedom of movement and enables them to move their bodies around easily without having to support all their own body weight. In premature babies, swimming can help them catch up on their motor development and develop muscle strength and symmetry.
For premature babies who need a little extra help, swimming can be very therapeutic and a great complement to physiotherapy and osteopathy. It can also improve cardio-respiratory function.
We asked SwimKidz customer Tracey to share her experience of swimming with her premature baby, Santino:
“My pride and joy, Santino, was born at 23 weeks and 6 days old, weighing just 700g! He was one of a twin but sadly, after just 3 short weeks, we lost our baby Angelo.
“Santino has cerebral palsy and the swimming really helps keep his limbs active. Some of the activities he finds a little changing but nevertheless he gives it his all.”
Swimming is a full sensory experience for babies; it stimulates all the senses, which is particularly valuable for premature babies with sight or hearing problems. It’s also a break from ‘normal’ life; a different environment with different experiences, where baby can learn new skills and build their confidence.
Tracey continues: “Santino is now 20 months and has been swimming with SwimKidz since he was 6 months old (3 months corrected). He took to it like a duck to water! I am so glad I started him so early as he has absolutely no fear of the water or being put under it (even if I am petrified!).”
Studies have shown that children who swim from a young age frequently achieve developmental milestones before those who don’t swim. In short, swimming is an ideal way for premature babies to ‘catch up’ with full-term children.
At SwimKidz our innovative and unique swimming programme begins during pregnancy and continues past birth. Our expertly-trained instructors are experienced in teaching babies of all ages and abilities. As Tracey puts it: “SwimKidz have been amazing and very understanding of Santino’s condition. I am glad he Is learning a life skill and enjoying it too.”
For more information on our dedicated baby and child swimming lesson, including classes near you, contact us.